Sometimes: Think Small And Find Success

There is a better mousetrap. One of the problems with the old way of making a film -- with the belief that someone would buy it -- is that the apparatus only applied to a few select films aimed at the widest audiences.  Yes, occasionally a filmmaker hit the lottery and everything aligned perfectly to engineer a sale, but by now we see that clearly as the exception and not the rule.  Some of the beauty that is being revealed during The-Collapse-Of-The-World-As-We-Once-Knew-It (COTWAWOKI), is that new experiments bring a wider selection of work to a wider selection of community.

Reading the NY Times recent article on how music labels are taking they DIY approach that they had for bands, are applying it to films too, frankly warmed my heart -- or whatever that is when you get the warm wave from the top of your head down through your toes. Endomorphines?  Anyway, it gives me hope that one day where ever you are in this country of ours, you could see interesting diverse culture among a crowd of similarly-minded and appreciative audiences, that one day you could find your own community in every county, no matter what you liked, or believed in.  Okay, maybe that's a tad idealistic, but...

You see, when filmmakers sought to sell their work, the work was supposed to be designed for everybody.  The work was going to be publicized to EVERYBODY.  When you aim widely, you are really limited in both the stories you can tell and how you can tell it.  When the target gets small, the game changes.  We get new options.  In the new game, there can be far more winners.  When we think small, we can think in a much broader manner as to the what & the how.  Thinking of a different game, we can think of far more models than the old one.

It made me think back to John Bradhum's post on TFF on "Film Gigging". It made me think of Peri Lewnes and others efforts to build a Film Club & Pub circuit.  It made me think of 's Joseph Infantalino's tale of finding cinephiles in New Jersey.  It made me think of way back when Docker's sponsored the Fuel Film Tour and we found bigger indie audiences in Columbus, Ohio than we did in NYC.  It makes me think of micro-cinema and living room theater circuits.  It makes me think of Eddie Burns and his new film "Nice Guy Johnny" designed for digi distro.  It makes me think of the thousands of alternative rock genres, and how music fans support them all.

The other day I got a great email from Drag City pushing Harmony Korine's "Trash Humpers".

Drag City is seriously considering going into the movie rental business!

Why not? We've just about done everything else in the entertainment business, putting out music for twenty-plus (and a few minus) years on whichever format the people fancied, and eventually branching into booking live entertainment (music and comedy so far), radio (wherever they'll let us broadcast - thanks WMBR, WNUR and anyone else we may be forgetting), the book world (hardback and paperback books, as well as magazines of various kinds and even a comic book), television (not ready for prime time yet), and finally, the holy grail of the entertainment industries, motion pictures. This summer, we handled the successful and compelling theatrical distribution of Harmony Korine's successful and compelling Trash Humpers across these United States, booking and promoting the film in fifty-plus (and no minus) markets, all told. This was followed with the release of the Trash Humpers DVD on September 21st. So far, we've sold several thousand copies in North America.

Their email continues in a refreshingly rock and roll manner, biting the hand that feeds.  I suspect as time goes on I will get more and more of such letters, geared towards one taste or another of mine, pushing the product that you can only get from them.

Someday they will all know where we are.  Someday we will have revealed our tastes to such an extent that the good stuff finds us.  Someday there will be no escape from the things we might love.  And then, when that day comes, it won't be about people trying to appeal to everyone.  It will be about being true to that special someone.  Instead of expanding our reach, we will know we should just direct our reach.  Direct it, and be true, be specific, and be precise.  It won't be that lie of "build it and they will come."  It will be "build it so you can find them".